The COO that needed new routines to find a sustainable work-life balance
This story is about Aero Percoid, a COO in need to recalibrate his schedule to regain a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment. Each of Wave’s clients is known as an alias to preserve confidentiality. Each alias is granted randomly and is a coloured animal.
Aero Percoid, a COO, came to Wave from a high-pressure context within a rapidly growing company. He was responsible for working on highly critical business topics but was also required to display constant agility in order to tackle operational emergencies as they arose. Unfortunately, over time the balance between the two aspects of his work had become dangerously uneven. By the time his coaching began, the pressure induced by this constant state of emergency was affecting his sense of well-being and leaving him in a state of overwhelm.
It was clear to Wave that Aero Percoid was in serious need of recalibrating his schedule in order to achieve better balance and regain a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment in his professional life. The first step was analyzing Aero Percoid’s agenda and ways of working in order to gain insight into what was functional, what wasn’t, and where innovation could play a role. Using this base; and through a series of reflective and investigative exercises and activities, Wave and Aero Percoid were able to iterate forward towards an ideal agenda that sought to combine the necessary flexibility with the routines and programmed working blocks integral to his strategy work.
During this phase, Aero Percoid found that the issue at hand was not a matter of producing an optimal schedule, but rather his ability to “stick to the plan”. This was due, in part, to the nature of his work, but especially to the pressure he put on himself to satisfy others’ needs before looking to his own. As a result, he suffered from feeling out of control of both his schedule, his work, and in a greater sense, his own life.
In parallel, it also came to light that these boundary issues extended beyond the professional sphere and into his personal life. In much the same way as he had done in the workplace, Aero Percoid’s tendency to prioritize his role in relation to others (as COO, as a husband, as a father) meant that his own needs were often overlooked and pushed aside. The prolonged lack of self-care he had shown himself was truly catching up with him and he was able to understand that much of the discomfort he felt in his role came as a result of underinvesting in himself and his personal development. He could now see that he needed to be more intentional in the way he spent his time, at the risk of finding himself ten years down the road feeling dissatisfied and depleted, both at work and in life.
Wave and Aero Percoid’s focus then shifted to working on his emotional resilience by ritualizing time for sport and play within an already overstretched schedule. Yet while Aero Percoid had been relatively clear in discerning his blocker, shifting his mindset and behavior proved to be far more challenging. Weeks of ups and downs followed, where he remained unable to fully commit to respecting his schedule, and by proxy, his needs. Years of resistance made it incredibly difficult for him to justify the pursuit of activities for the pure sense of personal joy they brought him. Particularly so in the face of an ever-increasing workload.
Yet in the darkest of tunnels, and with Wave’s constant support, Aero Percoid was able to experience a true shift in mindset and use it to anchor his learnings. Little by little, through continuous and intensified work on keeping routines, identifying and challenging patterns in communication, and finding power and freedom through delegation, he was able to let go in one sense; and gain control in another.
His journey, which had begun in the professional realm and had expanded into the personal before coming full circle, demonstrated the intrinsic link between these two spheres and how accepting the legitimacy of his most basic personal needs was able to lead to positive repercussions on his workplace performance and personal sense of accomplishment. And his satisfaction with our work together was such that he chose to continue investing in himself in order to continue on his ongoing journey toward achieving a sustainable work-life balance.
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